The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was created in 1994, a year after the inception of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. It is presented to a first book by a poet of genuine promise. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award offers a hefty prize of $10,000.
While the Kate Tufts award offers financial compensation and increased visibility, it also offers additional, intangible benefits. Many poets labor for years without receiving meaningful feedback, save for piles of rejection letters from literary journals and perhaps, for the luckiest and most talented, a handful of published pieces. Even then, while getting a poem published is encouraging, one can never be sure about the audience: its size, its response, or even if it really exists.
"The award is a confidence builder,” said Janice Harrington, the 2008 winner. “It's that bit of light in the darkness that allows you to see your way, so that you can keep trying to write your best poetry."
Eric McHenry, who won the 2007 Kate Tufts award for Potscrubber Lullabies, also noted the value of affirmation:
“Writing poetry is hard work, not least because it requires me to convince myself that the world needs my poems. The best thing about winning this award is the feeling that my book has found some enthusiastic readers, that it isn’t so unwelcome in the world.”